Who Invented The Internet – Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf Or Tim Bernes-Lee? 

The internet is without argument one of the best things in our generation, though it has had its fair share of abuses, negativity, and harm, it has however tremendously impacted on humanity; aided our fast-paced lifestyle with quick access to information, ideas, communication and created platforms to propagate and grow more cost and time-saving technologies. For this, we have many wonderful gentlemen to thank for their mind-blowing inventions and contributions to the human race.

The Beginning

The word internet goes way back to the 1900s when Nikola Tesia, Marshall McLuhan, and Vannevar Bush all theorized a possible wireless world that converges as a global village through certain machine and mechanics connected as a network.

With the aforementioned theories and ideas came the advent of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in the late 1960s, the theories and mechanics merged into a three-dimensional shape birthing ARPANET. The Internet evolved this, a Project funded by the United State Military after the cold war.

ARPANET helped create the TCP/IP ({Transmission Control Protocol}/{Internet Protocol}) communications standard, that enabled definitive data transfer on the Internet today. I am sure we have at one time or another come across the word IP address before, every network has a unique IP Address with which it communicates with other sets of computers or digital devices anywhere in the world, the fact is; without an IP address one cannot successfully use any digital device to communicate with others. This success recorded in the ARPANET was later used in producing commercial civilian computers and networks for larger consumption.

You may want to ask what then is really an internet? According to Wiktionary, it was defined simply as “sets of computer networks that communicate using the internet protocol.” This word “internet” was originally used and coined by the United States Department of Defense in 1986.

Who Invented the Internet – Bob Kahn, Vint Cert or Tim Bernes-Lee?

Robert Bob Kahn

Bob Kahn whose full name is Robert Elliot Kahn also goes by the nicknames; Atilla the Hun and Bob. He was born in New York in 1936 into a Jewish Family and had as his parents Beatrice Pauline (née Tashker) and Lawrence Kahn (father). This America Computer Scientist is credited with the co-invention of the TCP/IP Protocols with Vint Cerf under a government-sponsored project in Hawaii.

Bob Kahn’s contributions to the Invention of the Internet

Robert Kahn in 1972, originated the idea of an open-architectural network system, used in DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) ARPANET project when he was appointed the Director of Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at DARPA. He also initiated one of the largest computer research and development programs for the United States government for research purposes spanning into in  billions of dollars and cohort-ed different scientist and engineers to work on the project with him while actively supervising every step of they took.

Robert Kahn worked on a communications-oriented set of operating system principles which he later documented in a memorandum titled BBN (Bolt, Beranek and Newman Technology Company). However, he did not have detailed knowledge of its implementation for the operating system hence he reached out to Vint G. Cerf for assistance in 1973.

Dr. Bob Kahn’s ideas further, gave rise to the architectural design, used in the construction of an open- architectural network called the Information Super Highway in the 1980s. An effort that further jump started internetting. Kahn’s architectural approach; ideas on the communications & Principles of operating systems, working experience/knowledge of the NCP ( Network Control Protocol an early protocol implemented by ARPANET), helped Vint Cerf and himself to spell out the details of what became TCP/IP.

Finally, he conducted the first public demonstration of connectivity of ARPNET, then as director of the project at DARPA, (the world’s first operational packet-switching network that later evolved into what became the Internet) by linking 20 different computers at the International Computer Communication Conference with the packet switch technology – a feat that was successful and earned him the title “Father of the Internet”, a title he shares with gentleman Vint Cerf.

His selfless contributions got him recognized with some awards, some of which, he shares with his colleague Vint Cerf, notable are the Turning award from ACM, Presidential  Medal of freedom has awarded by then-president George W. Bush.

Vint Cerf

Vinton Gray Cerf was born on the 23rd of June 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut USA. He is also an American Internet pioneer and Computer Engineer who is widely referred to as the father of the Internet because of his revolutionary work in the invention of the internet and co-inventing the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP) standard with Bob Kahn which indicates how data are transmitted between networks.

Vint Cerf‘s contributions to the Invention of the Internet

His contributions from the research work in the 1970s included the design of network packets suite which resulted in the construction of the Dod TCP/IP protocol, with assistance from his friend Steve Crocker, he developed the software that would be used in computers for connecting them through the ARPANET.

Secondly, Vint worked with Bob Kahn in DARPA, ARPANET’s project, in an experiment, doing a national-scale packet switching system, which allowed computers to interconnect through the already developed packet switching medium based on his previously developed software of packet suite. The project was finished in the early 1980s and based on it, their work on the development of the ARPANET in DARPA recorded a huge success after its demonstration by Bob Kahn.

Thirdly, after he helped in the building of the ARPANET for the military, he also helped Bob Kahn in generating the command and control protocols for the computers, and as well developed the software and specifications for building the MCI – mail. Vinton co-founded the Internet Society (ISOC) with Bob for further research purposes and he was actively involved in the organization; Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) in their activities in allocating internet address space and overseeing domain names which were invented in 1984.

Vint Cerf further sought and got permission from the US government, on his proposed work of connecting the public with internet and email facilities, he embarked on the project with his rich working knowledge of the internet and the MCI Mail he and few other persons built, hooked up and generated flowing traffic from the MCI Mail and Internet. This accumulated into a compatible synergy for the connection of other E-mail service providers and commercial companies connected to, for their businesses. This invention broke the barrier set by the government which limited the use of the internet. This he achieved in 1988 and 1989.

Finally, the software he developed with Bob Kahn on the IP protocol was the basic and fundamental architecture of the internet, a backbone on which every other discovery and connectivity was made and subsequently built and powered on, discoveries and inventions such as the World Wide Web, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, LANs,  e-mail, FTP, 3G/4G which we all enjoy today.

He was also well recognized and awarded with notable awards like the National Medal of Technology and Presidential Medal of Freedom among others.

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee also known as TimBL, is a British Computer engineer born in London on 8th June 1955. The English engineer and computer scientist currently work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Universit of Oxford as a professor of Computer Science.

Tim Berners-Lee‘s contributions to the Invention of the Internet

After is extensive research work on the software of IP protocol, he along with others in 1989 and 1990 developed the first ever model of World Wide Web which they ran successfully on the NEXT Computer at the CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1991 with the first IP address and web page He achieved this amazing innovation through an Internet-based hypermedia initiative – HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) which helps in publishing web pages and the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) brings up web pages on request.

Finally, the invention of the world wide web made it quite easy to access and see hypertext in an internet web page and see clearly connectivity in forms of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which helps to recognize webpage locations.

This contribution attracted the awards bequeathed on him, by Queen Elizabeth in 2004, 2007, and he has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame with Vinton G. Cerf and Steve Crocker.

Who Invented The Internet?

Summarily, we can truly say based on the foundation and the first ever launched internet, that Vinton Gary Cerf and Bob Kahn are indeed the “Fathers of the internet”  as they both built the protocol’s fundamental design on which every other work today done on the internet is hitched, but more particularly, we can ascribe the title to Vinton Gary Cerf because, over the years, he has driven and followed through the agenda of making the internet, a commercially available consumable service after it was first launched in 1983.

Vint Cerf has also demonstrated over time with his internet Evangelistic work, serving as an intermediary between government and the public in making the internet not propriety, rather making it access free for all. We can not also take for granted, the individuals and collective contributions of other great minds, wonderful intellectuals, that have also in their own ways created/invented one program software or another that made access to the internet more feasible, some of which we can attest to.